ABSTRACT

This chapter shows that much of the criticism of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ban on China’s export duties focuses on the concerns over the inequity (WTO members are generally free to impose export duties) or the rigidity of the strictly textual approach adopted by the Appellate Body (AB) regarding the applicability of Article XX to China’s export duty commitments. In contrast, the potential negative environmental impact caused by this harsh ban receives much less attention, largely owing to the perception that doubts (i) the potential of using export duties to protect the environment and (ii) the genuineness of China’s intent to use export duties as part of its environmental policy. This gap is unfortunate because the environmental concern is of great importance in deciding whether the WTO members or the AB should support a change of the China—Raw Materials and China—Rare Earths decisions. The next steps involve filling in the missing piece in current discussion.